Features
Reviews
Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Archives
Bargain Basement
Downloads
Music DVD
Upstart
Pipsqueaks
 
 
 
Features
Reviews
Archives
Send Us Mail
Contact Us
 
 

James Vincent McMorrow
Early In The Morning
Vagrant Records
www.jamesvmcmorrow.com


I must be getting older. My days of punked-out, fast-paced splendor have waned in favor of more melancholy, groovy, slow-jams. Buzzsaws have been replaced by banjos, feverish vocals have given way to tepid whispers, and the volume dial has spun in the opposite direction.

But I'm okay with my newer and tamer self - because I'm not alone in my musical about-face. James Vincent McMorrow, a spirited Dublin troubadour, honed his craft listening to punk stalwarts like At The Drive-In, Refused, and Glassjaw. You wouldn't know it by listening to his latest release Early In The Morning. The album is a refined, yet stirring, amalgamation of old-timey soul laced with idyllic harmonies and ripe acoustic fruit. It seems that McMorrow has since grown up and subsequently outgrown his punk roots - which is good news for his listeners.

The first couple of tracks on the record, "If I Had A Boat" and "Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft And Slow", take the subdued approach of Bon Iver while "Sparrow And The Wolf" rivals any Fleet Foxes jubilee hymn. "Breaking Hearts", the most direct offering, is a jeering dart as McMorrow pleads, "But when it comes to dying/I'll do it on my own/I've never been too clever/I've always just hung on". But the mid-tempo, piano driven "We Don't Eat" is probably altogether the album's finest moment. Enveloped in McMorrow's searing vocal mastery and taking a cue from John Hiatt's "Have A Little Faith In Me", the track is pure gold. It is plain to see why, after originally being released abroad in March 2010, the album hit #1 on iTunes in his native Ireland. McMorrow has a smooth delivery, a warm clemency in his stories, and a deep earnestness. From start to finish, his catalog never falters. "This Old Dark Machine" shows some muscle with its humid thump and ghostly chorus (sounding like it was written in a voodoo playground deep in the bayou). "From The Woods" is its misty bedfellow, buoyed by the clang of the banjo and the thunderous howl of McMorrow's voice. Only Mumford And Sons can approximate this level of acoustic brawn with such catchy precision.

On the whole, Early... is too good to go unnoticed stateside. McMorrow might be a punk at heart, but his music is calm and sensual without the sharp edges. If this is what getting older and more mature sounds like, then let it be.

-K.K. Coe

Check out more reviews

Talk Back
e-mail the chief

Like this article?
e-mail it to a friend!

 


Mike Doughty



none now
-------


South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

AWOLNation
Rachel Fredrickson

Kanrocksas
Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo


Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Epilogues
Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Sebadoh
Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Thrice
Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

MuteMath
Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Thrice
Lawrence, KS


 
hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.